Kuwait, Iran to Sign Accord to Combat Drugs
Kuwait and Gulf neighbor Iran will this month sign a security agreement to combat drug smuggling, the emirate's interior minister announced in Thursday's newspapers.
"Iranian Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mussavi-Lari will visit Kuwait on September 30 to complete joint security efforts to combat (drug) smuggling and infiltrations and sign an agreement," Sheikh Mohammed Khaled al-Sabah said, quoted in Al-Qabas.
The visit will also involve "coordination between two high-level security teams from the two countries," it said.
Sheikh Mohammed visited Iran last year and held talks on means to end drug smuggling and infiltration through Gulf waters separating the two countries.
The minister has been at the forefront of a highly publicized campaign launched a year ago against a growing drugs problem in Kuwait.
Some 1,400 dealers, smugglers and addicts, including 800 Kuwaitis, have since been arrested, Sheikh Mohammed said.
The emirate's cabinet will discuss next Sunday a comprehensive marine protection project including of radar and coastguard sea posts to upgrade security at sea, Sheikh Mohammed said.
The emirate's coastguards and police seized more than a ton (2,200 pounds) of hashish in the past three months and arrested 24 Iranian and Kuwaiti dealers.
The major problem in waging war on drugs remains Kuwait's 290-kilometer (180-mile) coastline facing Iran, a key transit country for narcotics moving west to the Gulf states and Europe from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But despite stiffer penalties, including the death sentence, for drug use and trafficking in this oil-rich emirate, both continue to rise. More than half of court cases concern drugs.
Fifty-seven people died of drug overdoses in Kuwait during 1999, up from 28 the previous year and 47 in 1997.
More than 29,000 cases of drug addiction were registered between 1997 and 1991, the year the Gulf Arab state was liberated after seven months of Iraqi occupation – KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)